We arrived in Siem Reap, the city next to Angkor, after another very long and painful local bus ride, during which I was sick, again. Once at the hotel, what a relieve! It didn’t matter that half of what was advertised was not true, it was clean and that was enough to please me! We met Jean for our last shared trip together. We decided to spend 5 nights there, to really have time to visit the huge city of Angkor, and also because it was the water festival in Cambodia, something we were very curious about. Last year it was canceled In Pnomh Penh due to many issues the year before. Luckily for us, this year it was in Siem Reap and went fine (or at least we didn’t notice anything).
There are many ways to visit Angkor because it’s so big, but we picked bicycles (as it is our favorite transportation mode) to go around what they call the small and the big circuits, and hired a tuk tuk to see more remote temples 60 km away. A fun German guy called Thorsten (but I kept calling him Tungsten) that Jean met on his way to the hotel joined us. Very important detail: there was a pool in his hotel, a luxury we could not afford. At some point it was so hot (35 degrees on average) that I seriously considered skipping lunch and using the money to pay for a pool entry fee. Thanks to Tungsten I didn’t have to do that, we enjoyed his hotel pool for free, it felt so decadent and good!
But back to Angkor! The temples are all so stunning and different from each other, so beautifully covered with details, it simply is beyond words. No photo can do it justice. I was afraid to be bored pretty quickly but I enjoyed every second of the 3 days we spent visiting. The carvings are quite amazing and some are very well conserved (most temples were built around the 12th to 14th century, but some are even older). The entire site is extended over 90 km, and was only intended as a worship place, people were not living there, which seems like an intense journey back in the time! Some of the constructions are eaten by the jungle and wild trees, some are used by cute monkeys as a playground, you can climb on top of them, walk inside them, get lost in some maze like gigantic ruins. Everything we saw was very interesting and awe inspiring. It’s definitely the highlight of our time in Cambodia!
We enjoyed our last day and night in Siem Reap and went to the water festival along the Mekong river. The atmosphere is crazy! It’s packed with Cambodians, there’s food everywhere, music, fireworks etc… Kids go swimming in the Mekong river to bring light offerings into the water, it looks kinda magical from the bridges above the river. The street food was also so amazing and new to us, we had all our meals there on the last day. Also, I have to add that people in this area were extremely friendly and funny, they were all laughing and joking all the time. So many people stopped us in the street to talk, just say what they were doing for a living, right now, and asking us the same, then wished us good bye. That was the icing on the cake of an awesome time!